Tag Archives: racism

White Privilege, it really does exist!

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White Privilege, it really does exist!

I recently had an interesting discussion with someone on their lack of belief in white privilege. It resulted in my leaving quite frustrated. I also tried to speak to my husband about it, but I end up so ver klempft that I can’t even banter appropriately or effectively. I have been trying to figure out a better and more clear way to explain it. The girl in the video explains it as immunity….rather than privilege…Maybe that makes it more palatable. I also have read an article that makes it understandable for the video generation….Click here.

One good thought I have had is: *if your perceived oppressive experience ends when you change environments, there wasn’t an *ism.*

You can be uncomfortable and a situational minority without being oppressed. 

Google “Galtung conflict triangle” interesting stuff. 2/3 isn’t an ism. You gots to have all 3.

http://civilliberty.about.com/od/equalrights/tp/Types-of-Oppression.htm

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Yes. I am a white girl. Why does that mean I can’t speak freely?

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Yes. I am a white girl. Why does that mean I can’t speak freely?

Ok, so while I am aware of the constantly evolving me that is a student of social work, I also have a few things about myself that I hold to be convictions, which will really never change. One of them, I feel I need to defend so freaking often these days. Consider the following real life practically verbatim vignette:

A guy and a gal are smoking outside school. Me and another gal, talking to them. Conversation ensues regarding graduation blah blah. Me and smoking gal begin talking about the opportunities in Alaska which can result in getting most of your student loan debt forgiven. I ask, “Are you Native at all?” because she looks like she could be  (obviously my first mistake, assuming she looks potentially Native and asking, gasp).

She says “No, why?” 

Me: “Well, they give Native preference up there. I remember it being really frustrating when I lived up there that often I didn’t get a job because I was “too white.”

We laughed. I started to explain and then….

The other girl, non-smoker starts in about “Yeah, how hard it must be as  a white girl,” (mind you she is white too) and “how white people have it so bad”, while rolling her eyes and going on about privilege. Then she gives some example about some dumb chick that said something similar, which really wasn’t even remotely similar to what I was saying. I didn’t get to finish talking. I was humiliated and pissed. 

Now, had she given me half a second, I would have further validated that statement with how it was 15 years ago, when I was 18 and naive. I then would have explained how I BELIEVE AND ALWAYS WILL that as long as we continue to make distinctions between people, we are perpetuating hate and separateness,  nothing will ever be equal. It creates infighting. And as long as we are fighting each other, we will never make any headway with the powers that be that REALLY need us to work against them. Yes, I know that reparations must be made for previous and present oppressions and that I currently experience privilege because I am white, really I KNOW THIS. I’m on a fucking computer bitching about how I let someone make me feel while I was at GRADUATE school. I mean come on. I get it. My first world problems are really lame in the big picture. But they are mine. I am experiencing them.

But I also know that as long as we give anyone an advantage over another person based upon their race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, sex, religion or culture, rather than their qualifications that there will always be anger, strife and hate. I remember very clearly my ex-husband going OFF about not getting a promotion at his job, when we lived in Barrow, Alaska. A Native had been promoted ahead of him. Not once did he even entertain the idea that the Native had been better qualified, had more seniority, or had been waiting for the promotion. He assumed it was a Native preference situation and hated the Natives after that. Now, this was most undoubtedly a multifaceted issue, because he was slightly racist to begin with, had been privy to white privilege his entire life, etc. But the fact of the matter was, he began to hate a specific person based upon an assumption created by a man-made difference created in trying to help end differences.

But she didn’t let me say that. She didn’t even let me explain. She immediately made an assumption based on the beginning of my statement, jumped in and changed the entire tone of the conversation, made me feel like crap and embarrassed. Her DHS skills are coming in handy. I can see it already.

Boo.

Now I am doing what I want to stop: I’m talking about it! GOD*(&*^%*^%!

Woosaw.

I have three things I would like to share:

The first is a partial transcript of a 60 Minutes interview of Morgan Freeman by Mike Wallace:

Wallace: Black History Month you find…

Freeman: Ridiculous.

Wallace: Why?

Freeman: You’re going to relegate my history to a month?

Wallace: Oh, come on…

Freeman: What do you do with yours? Which month is White History Month?

Wallace: Well…

Freeman: Come on, tell me.

Wallace: I’m Jewish.

Freeman: OK. Which month is Jewish History Month?

Wallace: There isn’t one.

Freeman: Oh. Oh. Why not? Do you want one?

Wallace: No. No.

Freeman: Alright. I don’t either. I don’t want a Black History Month. Black history is American history.

Wallace: How are we going to get rid of racism…?

Freeman: Stop talking about it. I’m going to stop calling you a white man. And I’m going to ask you to stop calling me a black man. I know you as Mike Wallace. You know me as Morgan Freeman.

The second is classic MLK:

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

And finally:

2 from Malcolm X:

“I am not a racist…. In the past I permitted myself to be used…to make sweeping indictments of all white people, the entire white race and these generalizations have caused injuries to some whites who perhaps did not deserve to be hurt. Because of the spiritual enlightenment which I was blessed to receive as a result of my recent pilgrimage to the Holy city of Mecca, I no longer subscribe to sweeping indictments of any one race. I am now striving to live the life of a true…Muslim. I must repeat that I am not a racist nor do I subscribe to the tenants of racism. I can state in all sincerity that I wish nothing but freedom, justice and equality, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all people.”

“Our people have made the mistake of confusing the methods with the objectives. As long as we agree on objectives, we should never fall out with each other just because we believe in different methods, or tactics, or strategy. We have to keep in mind at all times that we are not fighting for separation. We are fighting for recognition as free humans in this society.”

I said good day!

Soapbox…

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My husband told me to stay off of my soapbox but I would just like to point out an observation, in the 2012 SI Swimsuit edition, there is less than ten photos of black women. There are more men in the edition than black women.

So I did some Googling (no pun intended) and there have been (identified) 0 Asians, 1 Hispanic, 1 Spanish/Lebanese, and 2 African American women on the cover: Beyonce and Tyra Banks. Since 1964. Wow.

Most of the women have been German, Swedish, Czech or American.

Husband said “How many MEN have been on the cover?…My soapbox is bigger. It’s reverse sexism.”

I am not sure what it means. Perhaps other ethnicities are just smarter than letting themselves be objectified. Perhaps the magazine is radically ethnocentric. Maybe everything about America is ran by white racist men, including SI. Maybe the magazine editor is scared of diversity. Well, Terry McDonnell? Which is it?

Just an interesting observation. That is all.

As some have already questioned my sampling methods, let me remind you before you hunt me down or jump my case: I am getting my info for the covers from google, SI, wiki, their bios. The internet. The ones inside the magazine I am merely guessing because of their skin tone. Don’t jump my shit for assuming someone’s race or ethnicity by skin tone. Its the same assumption I assume (haha) the main demographic of the magazine will make. Just an observation. Not quantifying research.

And yes, I do know the difference between race and ethnicity, before anyone else mentions it.

Of course it starts in Garland, Texas!

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Season’s Eatings!

Christmas and the whole Christian story of the resurrection always makes me think of zombies. I read a lot about how to survive a zombie apocalypse….I found it highly suspect that the movie “Zombieland” began in Garland, Texas….The town where some of my deepest seated fears began. We moved there when I was really little and only lived there for approximately a year,  maybe a year and a half but in that time I was:

  • Electrocuted by crawling under my aunt’s bar and sticking keys into an electrical outlet;
  • Attacked by red ants;
  • Subsequently traumatized by being held down in an ice bath;
  • Told large black people were gorillas after going to the Dallas zoo and being shown the scary gorillas, when we lived in an apartment complex that I believe had 2 other white families besides us (oh yes, thanks passive aggressively racist family, you were my first lesson in needless hate) Pursuant to a family member’s WRONG assumption that this particular anecdote was about them; I would like to strike the above example to save face for them;
  • Pushed down the stairs by my parent’s friend’s daughter wherein I cracked my head open on the rock pad at the bottom;
  • Bitten so hard on the stomach by that girl’s brother that 30 years later I still have the teeth scars;
  • Was consistently put through windows to unlock the doors at people’s houses, including my own (did no one have keys???);
  • Watched “ET”, “Star Wars VI”, “Peter Pan” and “The Wizard of Oz” , truly it is surprising I have never been treated for some sort of neurosis….
  • Had my hair which was tied with some crazy fluffy cotton gauzy ribbon stuff get caught in a box fan;
  • Had my hamster escape and get into my bed, and my mother’s who has a preternatural fear of rodents, on separate nights;
  • Was threatened not to get out of bed in the dark because of “apartment bugs” which bit….turned on the light once to see the biggest roaches ever scatter….I didn’t know what they were until many years later, but i guarantee I never got out of bed after that….;
  • Was told (mind you I was 2-3 years old) about the lady of the lake and the copperhead snakes that were in the water and would kill me where we went swimming;
  • Went to the set of the tv show “Dallas” and was scared sh*tless by the HUGE buffalo there.

This is just off the top of my head. What the hell were my parents doing? Where were they? GEES.

Wow, what got me started on that? Oh yeah. Zombieland at Garland, Texas.

I digress(ed).

So. I think in the event of a zombie apocalypse, I would first seek out the mormon apocalypse pantries to set myself up with food. Hopefully, I would also have amassed enough guns and ammo to outlast the zombie’s starving, but I am not sure how I would fortify my home….I’m thinking that Will Smith in “I am Legend” had the bomb ass set up. Short of that, I don’t think life would be worth living. I may just sacrifice myself. I pray that when the human created (or nature created, for that matter) virus comes and starts turning us into zombies, it will be kind enough to create photophobic zombies and destroy the use of run on sentences.

How will you survive?

Will you sacrifice yourself?

Give up?

Or fight?

Praise the walking dead. Merry Christmas. Hallelujah.